Garanimals Blog

Archive for the ‘language’ tag

March 18th, 2014 at 5:01 am

4 Tips for Parents of Future Bilingual Kids

4023143488_c039b5d2e8I spend a lot of time talking about the subject of raising bilingual kids, but mostly to parents who are already in the middle of the process. But what about those who are thinking about raising bilingual children once they have them?

Here’s some advice for them:

1. It doesn’t “just happen.” People like to say that children are like little sponges who absorb everything around them. While I think that’s true, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to make any efforts to raise a bilingual child. Besides the commitment to make that happen, you have to make a concerted effort to expose your child to as much Spanish as possible on a regular basis. In other words, it’s not like you’re going to sit them in front of the television to watch “Dora the Explorer” and expect them to become bilingual.

2. It’s not always going to be easy. Along the same lines, it’s important for you to know that while this won’t be the case all the time, there will be periods that are more difficult than others. Some of this difficulties have to do with time, your support system in terms of who can help you expose your child to Spanish and also just pure rebellion on the part of your child which will happen at some point or another when raising a bilingual child.

3. It’s going to be funny. Raising a bilingual child with more than can one language can also be a lot of fun. And it can be pretty funny too. Some of these episodes will happen when your children come up with funny words or phrases that mix both languages. Some people think this has to do with the child being confused because he speaks two languages, but it’s really just their way of figuring out both his languages.

4. It’s always going to be totally worth it. In the end, there is absolutely no denying that teaching your child two languages will be totally worth it. The benefits of bilingualism have been proven over and over again both academically and culturally. It is a gift that your kids will carry with them for ever and one that they will surely thank you for in the future.

Photo Credit: Penumbra

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.

Pin It

February 4th, 2014 at 5:01 am

8 Fun Riddles to Practice Spanish with Your Kids

510430113_3402577101

The most important advice I like to give those raising bilingual children is to remember to make the journey as fun as possible. The minute speaking another language becomes a chore or an obligation, it’s more than likely that your kids will rebel and refuse to speak it.

In the past we’ve talked about music, board games and even tongue twisters as tools to make sure learning Spanish is a fun activity for your kids. Today, I want to share some riddles in Spanish that will hopefully help you do the same. Some riddles are extremely difficult, but the ones I’ve chosen are a few pretty simple ones that I remembered from when I was a child. Enjoy!

Adivina, adivinanza,
tiene un solo ojo
y una cara ancha.
(La panza)

Verde por dentro
verde por fuera
si quieres saber qué es, espera.
(La pera)

Sal al campo por las noches
si me quieres conocer,
soy señor de grandes ojos
cara seria y gran saber.
(El búho)

Fríos, muy fríos estamos
y con nuestros sabores
a los niños animamos.
(Los helados)

Me pisas y no me quejo,
me cepillas y me mancho,
y con mi hermano gemelo
bajo tu cama descanso.
(Los zapatos)

Empieza por “a”
y no es ave,
sin ser ave, vuela.
¿Quién será?
(La abuela)

Una en la tierra,
una en la luna;
pero en el cielo no
encontrarás ninguna.
(La letra A)

Tengo patas bien derechas,
pero no me puedo mover,
llevo a cuesta la comida
y no la puedo comer.
(La mesa)

Photo credit: real00

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.

Pin It

January 21st, 2014 at 5:01 am

Music Videos in Spanish for Children

babypianoI’ve taught my bilingual kids all of the children’s songs in Spanish you’ll find below and they love singing them. I remembered the lyrics for most of them, but for the ones I didn’t, I turned to YouTube. Not only so that I could be reminded of the simple lyrics of  my own childhood, but also because of the cute videos that you can find for each song.

These allowed my kids to watch something fun while learning several songs in Spanish. I’ve included the lyrics for each song, but you can click on the name of each song to watch the video. Also, keep in mind that some times, the lyrics may differ a little because there are different versions of the same song.

Un elefante se balanceaba:

Un elefante se balanceaba
sobre la tela de una araña,
como veía que resistía
fue a llamar a otro elefante.

Dos elefantes se balanceaban…

Arroz con leche:

Arroz con leche
Me quiero casar
Con una viudita
de la capital

Que sepa coser
Que sepa planchar
Que sepa abrir la puerta
Para ir a jugar.

Vaca lechera:

Tengo una vaca lechera,
no es una vaca cualquiera,
me da leche condensada,
ay! que vaca tan salada,
Tolón, tolón
Tolón, tolón

Pin pon:

Pin Pon es un muñeco
muy guapo y de cartón,
se lava su carita
con agua y con jabón

Se desenreda el pelo
con peine de marfil,
y aunque se da estirones
no llora ni hace así

Pin Pon dame la mano
con un fuerte apretón,
que quiero ser tu amigo
Pin Pon Pin Pon Pin Pon

Image credit: San Mateo County Library

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.

Pin It

September 3rd, 2013 at 5:01 am

5 Traditional Children’s Songs in Spanish

Music is an excellent way of teaching children a second language. Whether you’re raising bilingual kids or you’re interested in them learning a few words in Spanish, here are some traditional songs most children are taught in Spanish-speaking households.

For those of you not familiar with the lyrics or how the song goes, I’ve included the link to the YouTube video so you can watch it together with your kids.

1) Los pollitos dicen

Los pollitos dicen
pío, pío, pío
cuando tienen hambre
cuando tienen frío.

La gallina busca
el maíz y el trigo
les da la comida
y les da abrigo.

Bajo sus dos alas
se están quietecitos.
Hasta el otro día
duermen los pollitos.

2) Pinpón

Pinpón es un muñeco
de trapo y de cartón
Se lava la carita,
con agua y con jabón
Se desenreda el pelo
con peine de marfil
Y aunque se dé tirones
no llora ni hace así “buh”.

Pinpón dame la mano,
te quiero saludar
Hoy quiero ser tu amigo
Pinpón, Pinpón, Pinpón.

3) Arroz con leche

Arroz con leche
Me quiero casar
Con una señorita
De Portugal
Que sepa coser,
Que sepa bordar,
Que sepa abrir la puerta
Para jugar.
Con ésta sí,
Con ésta no,
Con esta señorita
Me caso yo.

4) La gallina turuleca

La gallina turuleca,
ha puesto un huevo,
ha puesto dos,
ha puesto tres.
La gallina turuleca,
ha puesto cuatro,
ha puesto cinco,
ha puesto seis.
La gallina turuleca,
ha puesto siete,
ha puesto ocho,
ha puesto nueve.
¿Dónde está esa gallinita?
Déjala, la pobrecita,
déjala que ponga diez.

5) Aserrín, aserrán

Aserrín, aserrán,
Los maderos de San Juan
Piden pan,
No les dan
Piden queso,
Menos eso,
Piden vino si les dan,
Se marean y se van.

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.

Pin It

August 20th, 2013 at 5:00 am

Tips to Keep Your Kids Bilingual When They Go Back to School

My children are not lucky enough to attend a dual language immersion school. That means they are surrounded by English pretty much all day long once they go back to school. Nothing wrong with that, except that it makes it a lot harder when you’re trying to raise bilingual kids.

If you’re raising your children with more than one language, there are several things you can do to make sure they don’t forget their second language once they go back to school.

Here are some of the things we do in my household:

  • First and foremost, talk to your children in Spanish. In my house, my kids know that as soon as they get home from school, they have to switch to Spanish because that is the language we speak at home.
  • Make sure you’re reading to them in Spanish as much as possible. My daughter has to read for 20 minutes, so I let her do that in English. Then, we spend another 10 minutes with me reading something to her in Spanish.
  • If you let your kids watch movies, use the Spanish track so that they watch them in their second language. They may not like it at first, but they’ll quickly get used to it.
  • Same thing if you let your kids use your tablet. My kids are allowed to use mine only if they play apps in Spanish. They can play some in English too, but first they have agree to play the ones that helps them practice their Spanish.

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.

Pin It

June 25th, 2013 at 5:01 am

Traditional Outdoor Games in Spanish

With the start of summer and the end of the school year, I find myself searching for fun activities to keep my children entertained. I don’t mind them watching a little bit of television, but I don’t want them to think that’s the only thing to do during their long summer break. That’s why I recently racked my brain trying to remember the childhood outdoors games I used to play when I was growing up back in Latin America.

I have taught my kids all about them and now whenever they get together with other bilingual kids like them they play at least one of them. Check them out:

Juguemos en el bosque — Kids hold hands and walk around in a circle singing the following: “Juguemos en el bosque mientras que el lobo no está” (let’s play in the woods while the wolf is gone) and then they ask: “¿lobo estás?” (wolf are you around?). Then whomever is playing the wolf answers that he’s not ready because he’s getting dressed, but he goes through each garment of clothing until he’s finally ready and goes running after one of the kids.

1-2-3 Pescao or 1-2-3 pollito inglés — A child stands on the finish line while all the others stand several feet behind me. He has to turn around and counts to three saying, 1, 2, 3 pescao. He turns around and everyone has to freeze, whomever moves goes back to the beginning. The first one to get to the child on the finish line without getting caught wins.

Jumping rope — I have many awesome childhood memories of rope jumping and the songs we used to sing while doing it. My favorite one goes something like this:

“Manzanita del Perú,

¿cuántos años tienes tú?

Todavía no lo sé

Pero pronto lo sabré

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6….”

Roxana A. Soto es cofundadora de SpanglishBaby, el sitio en línea para padres que están criando niños bilingües y biculturales. Actualmente está escribiendo su primer libro, basado en su blog, que será publicado en septiembre. Roxana también es redactora de MamásLatinas.

Pin It

April 30th, 2013 at 5:01 am

5 Fun Tongue Twisters to Practice Spanish

My 6-year-old daughter recently discovered tongue twisters and now she’s pretty obsessed with them. Tongue twisters are a great way to practice pronunciation in Spanish and, as is the case with the first one below, they are excellent to practice rolling the dreaded Spanish “r.”

The craziest things about tongue twisters, or trabalenguas as they’re called in Spanish, is that they can be super hard to repeat even for a native Spanish speaker like myself. But I think that just like in my daughter’s case, for example, it’s the challenge of trying to say a tongue twister as fast as possible without making any mistakes what makes them so much fun.

So here I share some of the ones that have become my daughter’s favorites. Some are more complicated than others, but they’re all fun!

Erre con “erre” cigarro,
“erre” con “erre” barril.
Rápido corren los carros,
Cargados de azucar del ferrocarril.

Cómo quieres que te quiera
si el que quiero que me quiera
no me quiere como quiero que me quiera.

Pancha plancha con cuatro planchas.
¿Con cuántas planchas Pancha plancha?

¿Usted no nada nada?
No, no traje traje.

Si yo como como como,
Y tú comes como comes,
¿Cómo como si yo como como comes?

Even though I got  all these tongue twisters from a book I bought for my daughter during a trip we made to Tijuana last year, all you need to do is a quick search online to find a ton of other tongue twisters in Spanish for your kids.

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.

Pin It

March 19th, 2013 at 5:01 am

What are dual language immersion programs?

Have you ever heard of dual language immersion programs? As bilingualism is becoming more and more popular in the U.S., more of these programs seem to be popping up around the nation and they’re a great option. Although they can differ a bit depending on the school, the most simple way to define these programs is that kids are instructed in both English and Spanish (or English and whatever the target language may be) throughout their elementary education, allowing them to become fluent in both their languages.

The majority of these programs start off with 90% of the instruction in Spanish (or the target language) and 10% in English. While it might seem like those children who are not already bilingual will have a hard time understanding what’s going on if the majority of their instruction is in a language they don’t know, the truth is that they catch up very fast, since immersion is the best way to learn a new language.

Dual language immersion programs are great for kids who are already bilingual too because most of them usually don’t get to learn the mechanics of both their languages. I’d give anything to have one of these programs in my community because even though my daughter is already bilingual, I’m not a teacher and so I constantly worry about her grammar abilities in Spanish, since she’s being schooled in English only.

If you’ve been thinking about raising bilingual children, I recommend you check out if there are any dual language immersion programs in your area. You can always start your research on the bilingual education directory we have on SpanglishBaby.com

Photo Credit: Chicago 2016 Photos

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.

Pin It

March 5th, 2013 at 5:01 am

Favorite board games for bilingual kids

I love board games. I remember that, as a child, I spent countless hours playing monopoly with my older sister. The older my kids get the happier I am about all the board games we’re going to be able to play. And since fun is a huge component of raising bilingual children, I’m even more happy. My son is still too little to be able to play most of the board games we own, but my first grade daughter loves them and asks to play them all the time.

So here’s a list of our favorite board games for bilingual kids:

1) Zingo — This is by far my kids number one board game. In essence, it’s just like playing Bingo but with a twist because the game comes with a little contraption that spits out two tiles at a time which kids have to call out out loud if they match the images on their card. It’s supposed to be for kids 4 and older, but my 3-year-old loves to play and he often wins!

2) Spanish Bananagrams — I recently introduced my 6-year-old daughter to this fun anagram game and she really likes it. In fact, I was surprised how much she liked the challenge of having to come up with words with the tiles she was given and how creative she is too. She thought it was great that it came with letters like ñ, ch and ll.

3) ¿Adivina Quién? — Truth is that you don’t have to get the Spanish version of the very popular board game know as Guess Who? in English. We have it, but only because a friend got it for us when we visited Mexico recently. It’s a great game to practice basic vocabulary words in Spanish while having fun.

4) La lotería — The Mexican version of bingo, this is a super popular game in that country and it’s one of my kids’ favorite too. Great way to learn new vocabulary words and practice old ones.

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.

Pin It

January 22nd, 2013 at 5:01 am

Help Your Bilingual Children Expand Their Vocabulary

Enriching your bilingual children’s vocabulary is important for a variety of reasons. For starters, it will allow them to read and more complicated books. A wide vocabulary will also help them express themselves orally and verbally using a variety of words that more accurately describe what they’re trying to say.

Here are some fun ways to help enrich your bilingual kids’ vocabulary:

Storytime. If they’re not in preschool yet, storytimes are an excellent place to spend some time with your kids. Many libraries now offer bilingual/Spanish storytimes. These are always fun and I always appreciated the variety of topics that were covered in the books read because they introduced my kids to a lot of new vocabulary words.

Music. The repetitiveness of music is a great way for kids to memorize new words. Not to mention that they have a ton of fun listening and dancing to the music. The best part about this is that it doesn’t have to be only children’s music. There are a lot of great pop options that provide wonderful opportunities for your little ones to learn new words in Spanish.

Introduce new words. Try not to use the same simple words every single time. For example, think of the many words you can say big (gigantic, enormous, large) and start using them in your every day conversation. Make sure once you introduce a new word, you use it constantly.

Dictionaries. There are many options in terms of children’s dictionaries and they’re a lot of fun. Buy a couple and teach your children how to use them from the get go. As they get older, if they come across a word they don’t understand, remind them it’s a great idea to look it up in a dictionary.

 

Photo by Tim Pierce - http://www.flickr.com/photos/qwrrty/2100913578

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.

Pin It